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Communicating With Your Partner

Q. My opponent lobbed over my partner’s head. My partner shouted, “Oh, no” loudly. I ran and returned the lob. Our opponents had stopped playing because they heard “no.” Whose point is it?

A. First, despite what some people think, there is nothing that says you cannot communicate with your partner, especially when the ball is coming in your direction. And because such communication in your case occurred well before the ball bounced, the claim that the sound your partner made could be mistaken for a line call or hindered your opponents is not really legitimate.

The only time confusion could occur is the case when a player says "out" or another form of communication to his/her partner standing at the baseline at the time when the ball bounced. In that case, saying "leave it" or "NO" would be preferable to saying "out." However, any word used when the ball lands on the ground or close to the ground when your partner hit the ball could be construed as a call. If a player yells "out” at the moment or close to the moment their partner played the ball, I think that does hinder your opponents.

Looking back at your situation, it really depends how loudly your partner yelled. Communication should not be done in a screaming voice. The ball was not headed in the direction of your opponents at the time of the communication so unless it was shouted so loud that 10 courts away could hear it, I am not sure why your opponents would stop play and claim a hindrance.

Q. When a ball is on your side of the court and you want to tell your partner the ball is going out, are their any phrases/words that are against the rules to use? Example: long, out, bounce it, wait, don't hit etc. Is this in writing anywhere?

A. This is not in writing specifically.

First, despite what some people think, there is no rule that says you cannot say

'out' or other words of communication to your partner, especially when you are at the net and the ball is coming in your direction. And because such communication would invariably occur well before the ball has bounced, the claim that this could be mistaken for a line call is not valid.

The only time confusion can occur is in the case when a player says 'out' or another form of communication to their partner standing at the baseline at the time when the ball bounces. One player is in the position to make a return of the ball and does so. In that case, saying "leave it" or "NO" would be preferable to saying 'out'. However, any word used when the ball lands on the ground or close to the ground when your partner hits the ball could be construed as a line call and that is when you must be cafeful.

If a player yells "out” at the moment or close to the moment their partner played the ball, the opponents may have a case to call a hindrance.



















 
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